My son sent me a test question from his online public school (ninth grade American Government) about the types of powers that presidents have – and how they have used them. He got the question right, but the question addressed what I knew about draft dodgers of the VietNam Conflict. I know damn well it was a war – my father and my late father-in-law served their country in those years – and I invited the question.
“I don’t care how it’s called. It was a War.”
“Were they cowards?” he asked, “The draft evaders?”
The question read like this: “When President Carter granted amnesty to draft evaders he was using his….” I won’t give away what orders the president was using in case your child ever takes the test (hint: it’s not hard), but DRAFT EVADERS?
“Were ‘DRAFT EVADERS’ cowards?” I was shocked at the wording. The question was more of an insult from the Common Core revisionists that are teaching our children in government schools. As the daughter of veterans, it was up to me to fix my child’s brain washing.
A memory came to me. Of my father-in-law hooked up to an IV, dying of Agent Orange Cancer. Wasting away. Day by day. He prayed he would not die over Christmas, but make it to his birthday, the day after New Year’s. Dad made it to his 65th birthday – January 2, 2006.
He had a full military funeral and was buried with his VietNam veteran hat he loved.
And it did not say “Conflict.”
That hat had the word “WAR” on it.
My son had stood by his grandfather’s coffin and looked at his first dead body. “It’s just his shell. He’s in heaven,” we told him over and over as he cried and didn’t understand why PawPaw had died. The patriotic breath of flowers was inside the coffin Bobby, Ian, and I had put there – and his little hand tapped his PawPaw goodbye. It was hollow, but I remember my son said, “Thank you, PawPaw,” as I had taught him.
I remember looking at that darling man, my second father, and tried not to weep. Little did I know his dying would change my life – our lives – forever. Divorce is an ugly word, but in that time, in that period, Bobby and I lovingly buried his father together. And I was called “daughter” for many, many years.
And the hat had “WAR” on it.
So, yes, my darling Ian. Those men were cowards. They deserved to be branded with a C on their cheek for running from their American obligation to fight for their country. If Lt. John Hendricks and Sgt. Lawrence Browning gave all, they should have also given their all.As they lowered my second father into that cold ground on Everee Inn Road in Griffin, Georgia, where I still visit him, I could only write a poem in 2007 that said it all – a man died for his country in 2006 after coming home in 1968.
To Sgt. Lawrence Browning
I know, I told Dad,Damn Johnson!
Screw that Nixon!
The war was a waste, but you came home –
Wheeze into retirement and find a spotted lung.
I held your hand
As you battled your demons
Found in a wet jungle
In Southeast Asia.
Dad, don’t be afraid
To breathe and say goodbye.
Taps will be played
And a flag will be folded.
Ian will put it away and someday show
To all he loved that his Paw Paw was…
Yes, Ian, they were and are cowards, not “evaders.” Don’t let revisionists try to change what real men did: they stood and fought, even if they died for their country….Thirty-four years later.